"I’m a big fan of The Big "

William P. Bengen, CFP
Created the "4% rule"

The Big Picture application for investor education is just $30 / month
Check it out for free.

A sweeping view of market history

The Big Picture® reconstructs the investment experience of nearly one thousand retirees, each retiring on the first of the month from January 1926 onward. Stress-test portfolios against hundreds of actual market environments, and tell investors whether their income goals are realistic.

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Appeal to current and future retirees alike

The Big Picture will help you:
Attract clients through an interface that has been described as, "Fun and easy to use".
Show them the way on safe withdrawal rates, safe saving rates, asset allocation, and more.
Keep them engaged with the help of summary reports and follow-up conversations.

Build trust through understanding

Enhance your credibility by evaluating investors’ down-market preparedness, and illustrating the tradeoffs associated with different portfolio compositions, withdrawal rates, and lengths of retirement.

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"Besides illustrating very quickly the effect of assumption changes on withdrawal rates, it’s a lot of fun to use. I wish I’d had access to it in the early 1990’s, when I began my research on the so-called ‘4% rule.’"

William P. Bengen

Financial Advisor

"I can picture a time when most financial planners routinely use the Big Picture to explore portfolio choices with their clients."

Bob Veres

Financial Advisor

"There is a lot to like about this software."

Joel Bruckenstein

Fintech expert


You get access to the Big Picture App for 30 days without paying a penny. We’ll send you a reminder three days before your trial expires. Cancel any time within 60 days and receive a full refund!

The Big Picture® is web-based software that helps financial advisors build trust with investors by evaluating their down-market preparedness

The software reconstructs the investment experience of nearly one thousand retirees, each retiring on the first of the month from January 1926 onward.

Would their portfolio have survived history’s worst conditions, such as 1970s “stagflation”? If so, it may survive whatever downturns yet await. Or did it fall short, even in the stock market booms of the 80s and 90s?

The software then lets you illustrate the tradeoffs associated with different asset allocations, withdrawal rates, fees, and lengths of retirement.

While many advisors use the Big Picture for planning, its central purpose is education and engagement. It adds an evidence-based, “real-life” perspective to conventional software’s hypothetical projections.

By providing a new angle on the retirement income question, the Big Picture will boost your credibility and foster trust.

The cost? Just $30 a month. Start your free trial now!

Free Trial

The software simulates portfolios over every rolling period that has come to pass since 1926. It assumes a tax-deferred environment.

Withdrawals are constant in real terms; they are grown at the actual rate of inflation (CPI) that prevailed in each historical month over which the simulations are performed.

Technical documentation available here.

The Big Picture is unique in the breadth of data it includes. The following eleven total-return indices are currently available. Each index begins in 1926 and is monthly in frequency. Data are updated quarterly via an automatic feed.

  • U.S. Total Market Stocks
  • 5-Year Government Bonds
  • U.S. LargeCap Stocks
  • 10-Year Government Bonds
  • U.S. MidCap Stocks
  • U.S. T-Bills
  • U.S. SmallCap Stocks
  • Global Bonds
  • U.S. MicroCap Stocks
  • Gold
  • International (ex. USA) Stocks

We hold long-term agreements with respected index compilers, such as the Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP) at the University of Chicago. For technical details, please contact us.

The variety of asset classes featured in the Big Picture allows you to build as simple or elaborate a portfolio as you like. You can simulate a client's actual investment portfolio, that of a specific fund offering, or whichever hypothetical portfolio you wish to illustrate.

The historical indices featured in the Big Picture begin in 1926—the longest range available for reliable data. For any given investment horizon, whether one year in duration, or forty, this breadth of data gives the Big Picture hundreds of historical rolling periods from which to draw meaningful conclusions.

Yes, you can upload your logo within the program.